Towards A Survivor-Centric View of Rape: Part 2

For part 1, see Towards A Survivor-Centric View of Rape: Part 1

“But if women know they’ll be believed automatically, then all men will live in constant fear of being accused of rape, even if they didn’t actually rape anyone!”

Yup, that’s the idea. At the moment, it’s rape victims who live in fear of being accused of lying about being raped, which is much, much worse. So a truly survivor-centric view of rape — where all accusations of rape are assumed to be true by default — would shift the burden of fear off of the rape survivor, where it should never have been in the first place. If you’ve ever been raped, you know what I’m talking about. If you have never been raped, then maybe you should suspend judgment while you reconsider your position.

But really your concerns about false accusations of rape are both misplaced and grossly underestimated. Your concerns are misplaced because really they belong strictly to everyone who is not the actual rape survivor. The idea here is that this is a survivor-centric view of rape we are discussing, which means it’s the rape survivor that matters above everybody else, especially the folks who are afraid of being falsely accused. Yes, definitely, they surely matter, but that’s really a different subject altogether. What to do about that problem will have to be put off to the side while we figure out how best to help actual rape survivors.

And your concerns are also grossly underestimated, because it’s not just all men who will live in constant fear of being accused of rape. We will all have that problem — even the rape survivor herself. What’s more, parents will be especially afraid that their sons and daughters might one day be falsely accused of rape, and thus highly motivated to teach their children about the importance of respecting the rights of others. That won’t eliminate the risk entirely, of course, but as a general rule of thumb, the more respectful you are toward others, the less likely someone will accuse you of rape, falsely or otherwise.

The basic rule of a survivor-centric view of rape can be summarized, thus:

If anybody claims to have suffered a rape, then by default you should believe them — no matter what. It is much, much better to falsely accuse someone of rape, than it is to disbelieve a genuine rape survivor. The very last thing you should do is accidentally disbelieve someone who was actually raped. However bad it is for someone to be falsely accused of rape, it is much, much worse to get raped and then on top of that have to cope with people disbelieving you.

(Continue with Towards A Survivor-Centric View of Rape: Part 3)

 

 

3 Comments

  1. It’s possible to believe and support someone who says they’ve been raped without passing judgement on the accused rapist. Unless we are law enforcement or involved with the courts, it’s not our place to pass judgement anyway, IMO.
    It’s definitely a good idea for everyone to quit victim blaming. We seem to have lost our kindness somewhere along the way

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. I totally agree. I think a truly survivor-centric view of rape is really only concerned about restoring a sense of safety and well-being to the survivor. It need have nothing at all to do with the rapist. I think what happens is that as soon as someone says “I was raped”, everybody immediately stops thinking about the survivor, and starts obsessing about the rapist, how to catch him, punish him, blah, blah, blah, when really it’s the survivor who needs the attention. Thanks for participating in this exploration with me, helping me to understand it better.

      Liked by 1 person

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